What happens to car insurance when I’m deployed overseas?

Options for car insurance for deployed military can include decreasing your coverage amount, increasing your deductible to lower your rates, or canceling your policy altogether.

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UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 4, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • If anyone plans to drive your car while you are deployed, you must maintain car insurance coverage
  • You can cancel your insurance policy while you’re gone, but doing so may make it more expensive to purchase coverage upon your return
  • There are also options to buy coverage solely to protect your car against weather anomalies

There is no way to suspend your insurance when you are deployed overseas in the military. However, there are other options to manage car insurance for military drivers.

Every car insurance company handles this a bit differently.

You can cancel your car insurance policy, as opposed to suspending it, but that leaves your vehicle unprotected if a natural disaster occurs or someone drives your vehicle or steals it.

Read on to learn better options to protect your car during a deployment.

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If you do opt to cancel your policy, many insurance companies will waive the 30 days lapse in insurance that can cause your premium to go up upon your return.

As soon as you return, it is always best to contact your insurance company and notify them.

Also, make sure that person who has a temporary power of attorney (POA) to handle your affairs has the paperwork as well as a copy for your insurance agent.

Ensuring the right people have you POA will make handling any potential car insurance claims easier.

An alternative to leaving your vehicle uncovered is to put minimal coverage on it — dropping your current liability coverage and only having comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle against fire, theft, and acts of God.

While it is stored in your garage or storage shed, it is protected, but that does make your vehicle legal to drive or have on any public streets or roads.

Why is it best to cancel my car insurance coverage?

Rather than continue expensive car insurance coverage for a car that will be in a garage, it may be best to cancel your policy until you return from deployment.

The reason is the savings involved unless you have a lien on your vehicle.

In that case, the bank may not allow you to suspend or drop your coverage.

Another option may be to decrease the amount of coverage on your policy, especially if no one will be driving it while you are away.

If you do not have a lien on the car, comprehensive coverage is all you need just in case your car is stolen or damaged by weather conditions. If you do have a lien, your carrier may require liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.

Placing your car in storage does not require any coverage, and it may be worth taking a risk if affordability is a problem.

If you decide to cancel your coverage, you can always get more coverage when you return. If you have an outdated car of little value, cancellation is the best way to go.

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How does dealer financing impact my car insurance options during deployment?

If the vehicle is financed or leased, your bank or leasing company may require that you keep full coverage on the vehicle even though you’re deployed.

However, there are still ways to lower your premium while you are deployed.

First, you can increase your deductible. Or you can lower other coverage to give you the minimum insurance required.

Cancelling or suspending your insurance really depends on your insurance company and if your vehicle is financed or not. It also depends on if anyone will be driving your vehicle during the deployment.

Also, if you own your vehicle and do not plan on having anyone driving it, then you can look at canceling, suspending, or placing storage insurance on it.

However, cancelling and suspending your insurance will leave your vehicle unprotected.

If you choose to store it in your garage at home, it may be covered under homeowner insurance policy.

However, you need to check with your homeowner’s policy.

Storage insurance means canceling the liability coverage and just keeping comprehensive insurance on it, which covers fire, theft, nature, and acts of God.

How does my family situation impact my car insurance during deployment?

If a spouse, partner or family member will be driving the vehicle during your deployment, you are required to keep insurance on the vehicle and add them on as a driver.

Some military friendly car insurance companies will allow you to remove yourself for the length of the deployment and insert the other driver.

If no one else will be driving your vehicle during the deployment, and it is not leased or financed, then you can cancel or suspend your insurance.

If you car is older and not worth much, suspending or canceling your insurance might be a risk you are willing to take. However, if your vehicle is newer, you may not want to take this risk.

Can I suspend car insurance if I am deployed overseas in the military and only storing my car?

When storing your vehicle, it is important to consider putting storage coverage on it or just comprehensive insurance. This coverage protects your vehicle against fire, theft and acts of God or nature.

There are a few things you may do to protect your car or vehicle from damage while you are away. Some of them are:

  • Empty all fluid reservoirs
  • Give it an oil change
  • Fill the tank with premium gasoline (to allow for moisture)
  • Replace your premium wheels and tires with cheap ones

Do whatever you can to ensure that your car will be ready to go upon your return.

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What is a storage fee and how much does it cost?

There are some places where you can store your car for as little as $50 per month. You can pay as much as $200 per month depending on the location, the vehicle, and other factors.

There are different types of storage areas as well. Storage spaces may take a toll on your paint job, which is why heated spaces may be something to consider.

There are some storage companies, such as Adkos services, that cater exclusively to military personnel for deployment. With these companies, you can receive reimbursement from the storage company upon your return.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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